Friday, 14 June 2019

Histon and Impington Village Action Group

Decision made about land North of Impington Lane

The decision about the land north of Impington Lane was published by the planning inspectorate yesterday. The planning inspector has allowed the appeal and Hill can therefore go ahead and develop the land. The details are here Definitely not the news we all wanted but unfortunately it was rather inevitable once the land had been taken out of Green Belt.

My thanks go to all the people who got involved in the campaign, who wrote letters, attended meetings and put so much time and effort into trying to ensure this wildlife-rich piece of land was protected. You are all brilliant!

For those of you trying to protect further erosion of the Green Belt, be watchful as another Call For Sites has been issued by South Cambs and undoubtedly there will be areas that are in Green Belt that have been proposed for development by landowners.

Planning Application for land at Milton Road Impington S/1312/19/OL

The documents can be found here The deadline for comments is 15th May 2019.

If approved Flagship Housing will then transfer the freehold of 12 acres to Histon & Impington Parish Council for £1, and about 30 market and 20 social/ affordable housing units will be built on the other 6 acres.

The plans for the proposed Victor Unwin Community Park and the Parish Council's involvement are in the document titled 'Milton Road project report' and can be found using the link above.

If you are considering making a representation to SCDC the link above can be used following the instructions on the 'comment on this application' link.

You may want to consider:
  • The land is Green Belt. South Cambs District Council policies apply and can be found here Policy NH/8 states that: 'Any development proposals within the Green Belt must be located and designed so that they do not have an adverse effect on the rural character and openness of the Green Belt'. 
  • The National Planning Policy Framework states that 'When considering any planning application, local planning authorities should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. ‘Very special circumstances’ will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm resulting from the proposal, is clearly outweighed by other considerations'
  • Green Belt can be used as an 'exception site' for affordable housing. SCDC policy on exception sites is page 150 here The policy states 
  • 'Affordable housing developments to meet identified local housing needs on small sites adjoining a development framework boundary will be permitted subject to: a. The number, size, design, mix and tenure of affordable homes are confined to, and appropriate to, meeting identified local needs; b. The development is of a scale and location appropriate to the size, facilities and character of the settlement; c. For sites at settlements within or adjoining the Green Belt, that no alternative sites exist that would have less impact on Green Belt purposes; d. That the affordable homes are secured for occupation by those in housing need in perpetuity. Mortgagee in Possession clauses will be allowed where demonstrated to be necessary to enable development to proceed. 2. In order to facilitate the delivery of significant additional affordable housing the Council will consider allowing some market housing on rural exception sites on viability or deliverability grounds'.
  • The preliminary ecology report submitted by Flagship Group was written by an employee of Flagship Group in 2017 and therefore represents a conflict of interest. There is no proposed follow up survey for protected birds. It appears to be lacking in concrete scientific data.

SCDC planning meeting

SCDC held a panning committee meeting on Wednesday 13th February. The land to the rear of Impington Lane was on the agenda because the committee had to discuss and vote on should they have determined the application rather than defer it, what decision would they have made. 

They voted 6/5 that they would have approved it. Details are here

We note that 5 councillors were minded to reject the application - Cllrs, Rippeth, Roberts, Topping, Heather Williams and Wright.
6 councillors were minded to approve the application - Cllrs John Batchelor,  Cahn, Fane, Handley and Heylings
Cllr Heylings and Cllr Cahn are our district councillors who represent Histon & Impington.

Appeal by Hill Residential Ltd

Hill Residential Ltd, the developers for the land north of Impington Lane, has decided to apply for an appeal on the basis of ‘non-determination’. Appeals by the applicant are possible if a planning authority does not make a decision on an application within statutory timescales. A planning inspector then decides if permission is refused or granted with additional conditions.

It is extremely disappointing that Hill has taken this approach when so many different parties were willing to work with them. Planning permission was not refused by the planning authority. The decision was deferred as the council felt that many important considerations raised by the parish council, residents and SCDC planning committee members had not been addressed satisfactorily by Hill before the application came to the planning committee.

The process going forward is led by the Planning Inspectorate and is now out of the hands of South Cambs District Council. The appeal will be conducted through written representations and we understand that there will not be a hearing. If Hill win the appeal, the application will go through as it stands and the planning inspector may impose planning conditions. If SCDC win the appeal, then Hill will need to submit a new planning application.

All those who submitted comments during the planning consultation will be informed of the appeal and their right to submit evidence during a specific period. Currently we do not know dates but apparently there is a significant backlog in appeals. It is very important that everyone who submitted comments during the consultation on the original planning application does so again during the appeals process and also that we try to influence the possible conditions we would want the inspector to impose.

New Primary School proposed by Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridgeshire County Council are proposing to build a new primary school on land in the Green Belt owned by them at Buxhall Farm.

A planning application has been submitted and comments are invited from the public. All the relevant documents can be found here.

Community Park and housing proposal for Milton Road, Impington

The documents related to the Parish Council proposal for a community park and housing in  Green Belt on Milton Road, Impington are available on the Parish Council website. The community is invited to give views - details are on the website.

Councillors voted to defer the decision on the Planning Application for land north of Impington Lane

Councillors present at the SCDC planning committee meeting were concerned that there are still issues to be resolved and could not therefore grant approval.

Some councillors expressed a possibility of refusing to grant permission for the  application on material planning considerations. However, as the land has already been allocated in the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan, this would leave the council open to challenge. 

The issues include: 
  • concerns about the proposed drainage strategy
  • a lack of consultation with the community
  • not considering the emerging Histon & Impington Neighbourhood Plan
  • putting all the affordable housing in one area of the scheme and creating an "exclusive area" of large houses.
  • a lack of smaller market properties to meet the needs of the community
  • a lack of consultation with the Parish Council
Hill Residential, the developer, claimed that they had distributed fliers out around the community. Residents are clear that they never received one.

The community has always been willing to work with the developer and hope that this will now happen.

See article in Cambridge Independent

New date for SCDC meeting - Wednesday 14th November 2018, South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne.

The planning application for the land north of Impington Lane will be decided at the above meeting.

SCDC Planning Committee Meeting 10th October 2018, 9.30am South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne.

The planning application for the land north of Impington Lane will be decided at the above meeting.

More Amendments for planning application SF/1486/18/FL

Further amendments to the above application have been made.
An information sheet about responding to the consultation which finishes 5pm on Wednesday 3rd October is here

Amendments for planning application SF/1486/18/FL
The amendments to drawings and other documents for the planning application to build on land north of Impington Lane are now available on the South Cambs District Council planning website.

An information sheet about responding to the above consultation can be found here

Buxhall Farm Primary School Public Consultation Event

Wednesday 6th June 3.15 - 7pm at the Infant School.
Cambridgeshire County Council and the Architects will be presenting the design proposals and inviting comments.

After this date, the proposals will be on the Infant School and Junior school websites and comments can be sent to

Deadline for comments on planning application SF/1486/18/FL now closed

There has been a good level of comments submitted from all over the community with people raising a wide range of concerns.

The deadline for comments was 4th June. All comments can be viewed on the South Cambs Planning website in the 'plans & docs' section. Scroll down and they will appear after assessment documents submitted by the applicant. 

Do not be concerned if your comments have not appeared on the website yet as there are many that are still being processed.

It is looking likely that the application will go to South Cambs planning committee. Any news will be posted here as soon as we know anything.

HAIVAG comments on the Planning Application for land north of Impington Lane.
View HAIVAG comments here

It's not too late to comment on the Planning Application - the deadline has been extended to 4th June.

Parish Council Meeting held 24th May 2018
Histon & Impington Parish Council held a planning committee meeting yesterday evening to consider, among others, the application for 26 dwellings north of Impington Lane.

Members of the public who attended raised the following concerns:

  • Road safety - the proposed junction will not be safe and traffic travels faster than the speeds cited in the applicant's access docement
  • Flooding and drainage -  surface water flooding and issues with drainage
  • Inaccuracies in the way the plan has been drawn
  • Lack of screening for residents in Merrington Place and some residents in Impington Lane.
  • Communal garden is badly placed
  • Wildlife seems inadequately protected
  • Inadequate archaelogical survey
The planning committee reported that a the Planning Inspector for the Local Plan is expected very soon. This will confirm whether the land for 'phase 1' will come out of Green Belt and the same for the land allocated for 'phase 2' (North behind Merrington Place.)

The concerns around road safety were discussed in detail. Comments included that the proposed visibility splays are inadequate for a 30mph speed limit and depend on neighbouring hedges being trimmed back. School children use the route in both directions and the footpaths are narrow in places.

The mix of houses contradicts what is in the neighbourhood plan and is contrary to the identified requirements of the community. The neighbourhood plan is a material planning document.

Regarding provision of affordable housing - the housing schedule says that approx 40% of the dwellings will be affordable but there is no guarantee that this will be the case if the developer submits a viability statement that demonstrates less affordable housing should be built to make the scheme viable.

The deadline for comments to South Cambs has been extended to 4th June 2018.

The planning application can be viewed here.

Information Sheet about Material Planning Considerations

Many thanks to all of you who have been in touch expressing messages of support.

We have put together some information to help people to make their comments/objections on the Planning Application below.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch.

You can access the information sheet here.

Planning Application for land rear of 49-83 Impington Lane

A planning application has been submitted to South Cambridgeshire District Council for building 26 houses.  The application reference is S/1486/18/FL. Deadline for comments is 25th May 2018.

Quite a few people have been in touch asking how to submit comments and requesting advice on what to say. We will be putting together an information sheet that will help with focusing on material planning considerations. Only material planning considerations will be taken into account when the District Council make the decision on the planning application. 

The planning application can be viewed here.

Neighbourhood Plan Consultation on Draft Policies 

Message from the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group:

The workshop held last Tuesday gave residents the opportunity to see the first draft of the Histon & Impington Neighbourhood Plan.

The overall feedback from those attending was that the policies and projects address the priorities for our community. Very helpful suggestions were made for amending some of the draft policies.

The online survey can be found here. The presentation that explains the development of the Plan to date is here.

Neighbourhood Plan Workshop

Tuesday 12th September 2017 19.30 – 21.30
Recreation Ground Community Room

Message from the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group:

We have listened to your views and ideas and the Histon & Impington Neighbourhood Plan has progressed. We have been working hard over recent months to ensure that it reflects the aspirations of our community as evidenced especially by last year's Big Survey.

It is an important document as once made, Neighbourhood Plans form part of the statutory development plan and this means that South Cambridgeshire District Council must use our Neighbourhood Plan to determine planning applications. It will shape the future of our community.

We have almost finished the first draft and want to present it to you.

We need your feedback! Have we got it right? Have we missed anything significant?

Please join us for this workshop.

Article on amount of Green Belt being developed in England

Last hearing for the land North of Impington Lane

The final hearing to determine whether a larger site will be developed on the old Unwins land north of Impington Lane was held on Tuesday 6th June 2017. The landowners' representative argued that a bigger site was needed to assist the District Council to meet its 5 year land supply and that therefore the exceptional circumstances exist to justify the release of more land from the Green Belt. They also argued that development of the land would not cause harm to Green Belt purposes.

South Cambridgeshire District Council argues that 25 dwellings had been allocated in an area of the Green Belt where any potential harm could be mitigated and that no exceptional circumstances exist that would justify the release of additional Green Belt in this area. They explained that it would be possible to create a new defensible Green Belt boundary through the planting of new trees and hedging. Additionally they commented that the allocation of 25 dwellings in the Local Plan rounds of the existing framework and any additional allocation would extend beyond that. The council highlighted that the larger site extends into the flood zone and also that the NPPF is clear that allocation in Green Belt should not be made where reasonable other sites exist. There is therefore no need to allocate an extension to the site. Additionally they commented that there are sites where flooding does not need to be mitigated.

The final decision on the size of the site will be made by the Planning Inspector.

Meeting with County Council officials
An open meeting was held yesterday evening with County Council Education officials so that H&I Parish Councillors were able to get more information about the decision to build a new school at Buxhall Farm. The meeting focussed on the educational rationale for the decision. Notes from the meeting will be produced by the Parish Council and will be available in due course. A small group of parish councillors are tasked with liaising with the County Council to be involved with the development and implementation of the proposals.

The meeting was well attended by members of the public. For some it was the first time they had heard why and how the decision to build a new school at Buxhall was made. Hazel Bellchambers, Head of Infrastructure, Children and Young People's Services at Cambridgeshire County Council, explained that the council has a statutory duty to provide a school place for every child and recently they had not been able to provide in-catchment provision for some children within the community. She said they had tested other options, including whether a new school could be sited at IVC, and that building a school at Buxhall Farm was considered the best option. She confirmed that there would be 2 all through primary schools, 1 at Buxhall and the other an extended building at the current junior school giving a total of 840 primary places.

Many people attending the meeting expressed concerns about the location of the school and whether having 2 schools within the community would be divisive. Concern was expressed about the impact on surrounding houses, building on the Green Belt, extra traffic generated, safety for children and how decisions will be made about which children will go to which school.

The Parish Council will produce notes of the meeting. There was a commitment by the PC to hold another meeting for the community where planning issues/concerns and community aspirations for the new school would be discussed.

The land is of course in Green Belt. The County Council believe there are exceptional reasons why the school should be built on this land. They believe they have explored other options and that this is the only viable option. This will need to be tested through the planning process. The government has made a further commitment to protect the Green Belt in the recently produced White Paper "Fixing Our Broken Housing Market" but statistics do not bear out the rhetoric.

An assessment by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) found that the number of homes planned on sites previously meant to block urban sprawl has risen from 81,000 in 2012 to 362,346 with the largest number for development in the north-west and east of England.

The main block to the County Council developing the site for housing was the lack of school places. With a new school built and that block removed, it is entirely possible (indeed some might say this was always the agenda) that they will want to develop the Green Belt site further. We need to be  vigilant.

In due course the County Council will need to make a formal planning application for the new school and as is usual with planning applications, people will be able to comment on the submitted plans.

Decision for Buxhall Farm

The County Council has made a decision about the land it owns at Buxhall Farm. It will come as no surprise to many of you that the decision is to build a new Infant School on that land. Full details of the decision are on the Cambridgeshire County Council website. It's item 8 on the list. Click here.

No doubt there will be mixed reactions in the community. Some will see it as part of the continued threat to the Green Belt land that surrounds us and others may see it as a positive, especially if they have a child who hasn't been able to get a place at the Infants school. 

Is it in the right place? That's the big question many of us will reflect on.
We also know that the County Council are completely set on developing that land with a large amount of housing. If the school gets planning permission it will surely make that more achievable for them despite the clear views in the community and emerging from the neighbourhood plan consultation that big housing developments on Green Belt land are not welcomed by the community.

The council will need to apply for planning permission and we will all have a chance to comment when the time comes.

Local Plan Hearing

On Tuesday 29th November a few of us from HAIVAG and a representative from Histon and Impington Parish Council will be attending the hearing with the planning inspector who will determine how many houses can be built on the land North of Impington Lane.

National Petition re Green Belt

Theydon Bois Action Group has launched a new petition via 38 degrees. Their message resonates strongly with the work that we do.

"Is your local Green Belt under threat from over-zealous housing targets driven by the Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and imposed upon your Local Authority?  Do you feel unable to stop your local Green Belt boundaries being moved by your Local Authority to meet these targets?  Then please consider signing this petition.

Started by us, a local action group, but with the intention of protecting equally all 14 English Green Belts, the petition wording is self-explanatory and also contains a link to our website where supporting evidence can be read in full."

Survey results

Histon and Impington Parish Council has published the results of the recent survey they ran to inform the development of a neighbourhood plan. The results are here.

Land North of Impington Lane

You may be aware that there was quite a bit of activity on the land recently and rumours about building work being imminent.

A thorough check for planning applications has revealed that nothing has been received by the District Council as yet.

The Parish Council for Histon and Impington are not aware of any planning applications.

These things take a while and even if the landowners are trying their luck ahead of the Hearing on 30th November, there is still a process and much work that has to be done before building can commence, including an archaeological  survey and environmental impact survey. They also have an obligation to inform any neighbour who adjoins the proposed development area. This will be the time when we will have a chance to express our views and it will be important that we do so if the community is to have an influence on what will be built there.

We are still trying hard to achieve a good outcome and hope that the Planning Inspector will agree that 100 plus houses are too many on that land. We will continue to make representations through the Local Plan process.

Neighbourhood Plan 

Every household in Histon and Impington has received a Neighbourhood Plan survey recently. The Parish Council needs as many people as possible to take part in the survey; residents, people who study here, those who run businesses and those who work here.

Although one paper copy of the survey was delivered to each household, everyone in the household can respond to the survey. More copies can be downloaded or an online survey is available. Go to

It's really important that everyone has their say about what they want for the community - particularly when it comes to housing development.

The closing date is 14th October 2016.

A Neighbourhood Plan for our community

The Parish Council are working with Eventure to set up Focus Groups to help with moving forward with developing a Neighbourhood Plan. 

Neighbourhood Planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided.

If you would like to be involved in a Focus Group, you can find out more here. There is a link to register your interest in taking part in a Focus Group. The deadline for registering is Friday 15th July 2016.

Possible development of land on Milton Road, Impington

Histon and Impington Parish Council has announced that they are looking at a proposal to develop land off Milton Road in Impington. The PC said "At a special meeting earlier this month the Council considered an outline idea from Flagship Homes which would deliver a mix of affordable and market value housing and make land available for the development of a community park." The land is on the right on the last right hand bend as you leave the village and go towards Milton.

The Council's full announcement can be found here.

The Parish Council is holding a meeting on Thursday 30th June 2016 at 6.45 at Histon Junior School.

Local Plan for South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City

As you will be aware, the Local Plan process has been on hold whilst the Councils gather more evidence. In April the Councils announced that the process is to re-start on 6th June 2016. The programme of hearings can be found here.

This block of hearings will cover the omission sites. These are the sites that were proposed by the various landowners for inclusion in the Local Plan but were rejected by the District Council as being unsuitable for development. Buxhall Farm is one of these sites. We do not know if the landowners, Cambridgeshire County Council, will challenge the decision to omit it from the Local Plan but we do know that they object to the decision.

We do not have a date as yet for the hearing that will include discussion on Buxhall. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in the hearing.

Cambridgeshire County Council primary school provision consultation.

Cambridgeshire County Council in collaboration with Cambridge Primary Education Trust (CPET) are consulting on four potential options to increase primary educational provision in Histon and Impington.

The information and consultation documents can be found here.

Kingsgate applies for planning permission to build 20 homes on Green Belt off Villa Road Impington.
While we have no Local Plan in South Cambridgeshire (see below) there is a risk that developers will see this as an opportunity to submit planning applications for land that is not included in the draft Local Plan. This site was originally rejected by South Cambs District Council, on the grounds of 4/5 being in a flood zone and in the Green Belt, when they did a call for sites a couple of years ago.

The Planning application states that:
"The proposed development comprises the construction of 20 No. self build dwellings, 8 of which will be offered as affordable homes, the remaining 12 will be offered as self build plots.

The dwellings are to be constructed on land to the south of and facing Villa Road, Impington, Cambridge, with associated roads and paths, garages and car parking, other ancillary structures, landscaping and public open space, across a gross area of 10,000 square metres. As the proposed corner development is nested adjacent to existing development, it is felt that this development will not spoil the external appearance of the village.

Due to the potential flood risk from the watercourse on the western boundary of the site, part of the land will beset aside as an area for flood water attenuation and also service as a new area of public open leisure space to serve both the new development and the existing community."

Anybody who wishes to object to this proposal can do so by going to the South Cambs Planning Portal:  

South Cambridgeshire Consultation on the proposed modification to the Local Plan.
If you wish to comment on the proposed modifications to the South Cambs and/or Cambridge City Local Plans that can be done here

The consultation on the proposed modifications ends on Monday 25th January 2016 at 5pm.

As far as we can tell, there is nothing new proposed for Histon and Impington that is not already proposed in the previous draft Local Plan.

Local Plan Update

The Local Plan process trundles on. You may have seen articles in the Cambridge News about the additional information Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils have provided the Local Plan Planning Inspectors. Some months ago the inspectors suspended the Local Plan Inquiry and asked the Councils to supply further evidence about the particularly strategy they had decided was the best one for our area.

The inspector questioned if more than the 33,000 homes put forward in Local Plans were needed to meet local needs, and whether the strategy of focusing the majority of homes in new towns and villages was sound.

In the reports published a few days ago independent experts have said that 33,500 homes would be needed by 2031 to meet local needs –500 more than originally put forward by the Councils. The reports also state that the extra work commissioned has confirmed the two Councils’ strategy to deliver growth through new towns and villages.

There have been statements about the Councils protecting the Green Belt but this does not mean that development in the Green Belt won’t happen. The draft Local Plan already proposes significant development in the Green Belt. Developers have been pressing for a further 20,000 homes to be built over and above the 33,000 proposed by the Councils but the additional information provided by independent analysis has evidenced that releasing more land from the Green Belt is not necessary. The additional documents/evidence can be viewed here

The proposed development to the North of Impington Lane is mentioned. The allocation is for 25 dwellings but the landowner is proposing that 75 dwellings is a more appropriate amount. A decision about this will be made by the Planning Inspector next year.

If you wish to comment on the proposed modifications to the South Cambs and/or Cambridge City Local Plans that can be done here. The consultation on the proposed modifications ends on Monday 25th January 2016 at 5pm.

Parish Council Meeting

The meeting started with a short presentation from the officers from the County Council. "We want to work with you" they said and "We can work together to create a masterplan for the village".  They told us about the possibility of a new school and recreational mention of the 'h' word. They explained that it had been necessary to withdraw the offer of a lease on Bypass Farm for the much needed recreational facilities of the village because the site may be needed for a new primary school on County Council owned land. Then they were asked directly if the intention is to include housing in the 'Masterplan' and it then emerged that in order for the community to have a new school, the community had to accept housing which would part-pay for the school.

Our Parish Councillors and members of the public present spoke passionately about the need for community recreational facilities and the vision for Bypass Farm and the opportunities that the community had been denied when the County Council reneged on the deal to lease the land to the Parish Council. Others spoke about the history of the current draft Local Plan and how Buxhall Farm had been rejected by the District Council as a site for development due to many reasons including liability to flooding, the high number of red-listed birds. concerns about the traffic on an already over-crowded road and the very high number of objections to development of the site, including the Parish Council. Some Parish Councillors and members of the public said that really good evidence about the need for a new school must be produced and questioned whether Bypass and Buxhall are viable as potential sites.

The County Council were asked to re-consider their offer to lease Bypass Farm for recreational facilities as this is desperately needed now.

The following motion (proposed by the chair - David Jenkins) Parish Councillors were being asked to vote on was:

"That Histon and Impington Parish Council works together with Cambridgeshire County Council to develop a master plan for the provision of public open space and infants school capacity and other facilities within and for the community. It is likely that these will be provided at the County Farms sites of Buxhall and Bypass Farms".

Some Parish Councillors said that the wording was not right, that it should be primary school rather than infants school and the last sentence should be deleted. When it came to the vote, the majority of councillors did not agree with the proposed motion and it was rejected. For now anyway, the Parish Council and County Council will not be working together on a 'Master Plan'.

What happens next? Well we now know that the County Council is still seeking to develop Buxhall Farm. Later on in the Local Plan inspection process they will probably have the opportunity to present their case for having the decision not to include the land in the Local Plan reversed so that development can go ahead.

Histon and Impington Parish Council Meeting, Monday 20th July, 7. 30pm, Impington Recreation Ground.

There is to be an important Parish Council meeting on Monday 20th July, 7.30pm at the Recreation Ground at which Cambridgeshire County Council will be attending to discuss the options for the land at Buxhall and Bypass farms. (The County Council own the land). Recently the County Council backed out of the deal with the Parish Council to turn Bypass Farm into Recreational Space. You may have attended the recent meeting at the Junior School where the possibility of a new school for Histon and Impington was raised. Undoubtedly the issue of housing on those sites will be part of the discussion.

Further details of the meeting are on 

Come and have your say!!

Meeting re moving some Infants School Children to Junior School Site

A public meeting has been planned so that the community can find out why it has been proposed that year 2 children at the Histon and Impington Infants School move to the Junior School from September. It is being held at the Histon & Impington Junior School, Tuesday 2nd June, 6.30pm. More information here

Planning Inspectors postpone hearings

The inspectors involved in examining the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans have asked for more data, including Green Belt issues. A letter from the inspectors to the Councils can be found here:

You may want to read an article in the Cambridge News:

Matter 9 Hearing
Areas of major change/major development areas on the edge of Cambridge

The Local Plan Inspection hearings rumble on and this week it is Matter 9.

Histon and Impington Parish Council was invited to attend this hearing as one of the areas being considered at this hearing is Darwen Green (previously known as NIAB 1,2 & 3). It's the development of land between Histon and Huntingdon Road which lies partly in the Impington Parish.

Our Parish Council did a stirling job at protecting the interests of Histon and Impington particularly in relation to the the proposed junction to the new development which will be on the B1049 opposite the Kings Hedges junction and the potential flood risk issues as the land has a high water table and drains via one of the main drains that end up in the Histon Brook.

Councillor Brian Ing, representing Histon and Impington Parish Council, expressed concerns at the hearing that the proposed junction would not be adequate given the increase in traffic that would be using the B1049, Kings Hedges Road and the effect of the widening of the A14. Cllr Ing said "We feel the simply designed junction, with this extra traffic, will not be able to cope sufficiently and be able to release the traffic that wants to go to Cambridge."

Histon and Impington Parish Council and Histon and Impington Village Action Group are taking a  joint approach to appearing at the Hearings to ensure that the Inspector hears how any proposed new developments will impact on our village.

There is still no news on when the Planning Inspector plans to hold the site-specific hearings.

Matter 6 Hearing

Greenbelt Issues

The Inspector set out at the beginning that this hearing was to consider if the ‘exceptional circumstances’ needed to justify removing land from the Green Belt for development exist in Cambridge. The Councils propose that the need for jobs and homes in the Cambridge area does indeed justify altering Green Belt boundaries in order to accommodate new homes close to Cambridge. There was talk of the ‘Cambridge phenomenon’ and the need to enable the continuation of the successful area that Cambridge is and therefore the need for development can amount to ‘exceptional circumstances’ as long as the Green Belt is not ‘harmed’.

Many of the developers present at the hearing argued that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ that warrant removal of land from the Green Belt. Some want the inspector to consider releasing more land than the Councils are currently proposing, particular on the edge of Cambridge.

Jeremy Jones from Save The Cambridge Green Belt argued strongly that exceptional circumstances do not exist and referred to guidance issued by the government stating that Councils do not have to build on Green Belt to meet their 5 year housing supply targets.

Our position is that we also question whether the ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist, particularly as we believe that SCDC did not thoroughly seek alternative sites to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Green Belt. Indeed they have included some Green Belt sites in the Plan very early on in the development sequence. The council appears to have used a purely reactive approach, relying on the ‘Call for Sites’ strategy without doing a thorough appraisal of land that may be available that would protect the Green Belt from inappropriate development. We do not believe that all other possibilities for building new homes in the Cambridge & South Cambs area have been fully explored before including land that is in the Green Belt.

We were keen to point out that a large number of Parish Councils in South Cambridgeshire, during the Local Plan consultations, expressed a view that it was inappropriate to build in the Green Belt at that these views, representing local communities, should carry considerable weight.

It is not possible to assess how our representations have been received. All present at the hearings are given a fair opportunity to speak and to present their case and the inspector does not comment on the view expressed. It is inevitable that developers and their legal teams will take a particular approach and they come with a wealth of knowledge about planning and case law. That is balanced by a small group of organisations and individuals who want to ensure that the other side of the argument is presented. We take the approach of representing the views expressed to us by local people and coupled with our limited knowledge of planning law try to ensure that the voice of our community is at least heard by the Planning Inspector.

The hearings are ongoing into the summer of this year. Yet to come are the site-specific hearings where the inspector will consider evidence in relation to particular sites. We are expecting that there will be a hearing to consider Boxhaul Farm where the County Council, as owners of that site, is objecting to the site’s omission from the Local Plan, and the Impington Lane sites.

The inspector’s final report is due later this year.

Matter 6 Hearing

The next set of hearings will be on the Green Belt and will start on Tuesday February 10th at 10.00am, held at the South Cambs District Council offices at Cambourne. All hearings are open to the public to observe.

HAIVAG has submitted a statement on Green Belt and this can be viewed along with other statements for Matter 6 here

Members of HAIVAG will be attending the Matter 6 hearing to present the case for protecting Green Belt in our community and will be supported by Cllr Mike Mason (Independent- County) and Cllr Brian Ing (H&I Parish Council).

Matter 2 Hearing

We attended this hearing on November 5th held in the Council Chamber at South Cambs. About 50 participants attended and most of those were lawyers, developers and estate agents appearing on behalf of developers. We tried to put our case forward for later release of land from the Green Belt when Brownfield has been fully explored. Hearings on Green Belt and specific sites will be held later, probably next year.

If anyone is interested to attend future hearings, the next ones will be held on 11th and 12th November at SCDC, Cambourne, when housing need will be discussed.

Local Plan Hearings

We are preparing to attend one of the hearings being held next week at the District Council offices. The hearing on 5th November will cover the following:

  • Is the overarching development strategy, expressed as the preferred sequential approach for new development, soundly based and will it deliver sustainable development in accordance with policies of the National Planning Policy Framework?
  • Is it clear what other strategic options were considered and why they were dismissed?
  • Are the Plans founded on a robust and credible evidence base?
Independent County Councillor Mike Mason is assisting HAIVAG with appearing at the hearings as there are certain procedures to follow that we are not familiar with. HAIVAG is the only action group appearing at the hearing - most of the other participants are developers.

The statements submitted by organisations or their representatives prior to next week's hearing can be found here

The inspector has indicated that she will deal with specific sites later in the New Year.

Pre-inspection Local Plan meeting

The Save the Cambridge Greenbelt group has written an account of the main points from the pre-hearing inspection meeting and is reproduced here with their permission.

HAIVAG has been invited to attend 2 hearings. The hearings will start on 4th November.

On the 11th September, a Pre Hearing Meeting was held at the Guildhall in Cambridge.  The meeting was held in the large hall and was well attended with the greater majority of seats taken.

The meeting was chaired by the Planning Inspector, Ms Laura Graham who was accompanied by the Assistant Inspector, Mr Alan Wood.

There were representatives from Cambridge City Council (CCC) and South Cambridgeshire Council (SCDC).  The attendees comprised members of pressure groups, individuals and developers/commercial representatives.  CCC will publish their notes of the meeting on the Council's website.  The following notes are my representation of the proceedings.

1. The Enquiry.
The examinations through the enquiry are with regard to the soundness of the Council Plan.  The Planning Inspector will not be involved with detailed planning issues.  The assumption is that the plans submitted by the Council's are sound and that any representations are to emphasise to the Planning Inspector where there are issues that should be addressed or in the worst case, cause the plans to be rejected.

2. The Hearings.
The Planning Enquiry is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 4 November 2014 and will be held in the Council Chamber in Cambourne.  This first stage of the hearings is currently scheduled to end on Wednesday 19 November. 
The first stage will primarily be joint hearings with CCC and SCDC and will cover the bigger issues.  There will be up to another 4 sets of hearings which may take until Easter to complete.  The hearings are open to the public but only those pre-selected by the Planning Inspector will be permitted to speak. Following the hearings, the Planning Inspector will produce her report.

3. Representations.
The Planning Inspector emphasised that written and oral presentations will carry equal weight.

4. Oral Presentations.
There have been 2997 representations in relation to the draft CCC plan from 702 respondents.  People making representations back at the end of last year should have indicated on their submission if they wished to make an oral presentation.  Anybody who wishes to change to an oral presentation, must advise the Programme Officer by 1700 hrs on Friday
19 September 2014.  If you wish to speak at the hearing, you must advise send an email to

5. Statements.
The Council has prepared an Examination Library which should be available on the CCC website.  This contains all documents and representations made so far.  If you wish to submit a statement to the Enquiry, this must not include issues which are already within the
Examination Library.   If you submit a statement to the Programme
Officer, it must be received by Monday 13 October at 1200 hrs.   There
is a prescribed format for statements which must not be greater than
3000 words.

6. Other Issues.
The Planning Inspector advised that earlier this week, CCC and SCDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which possibly materially affects the current draft plans.  The MOU is in relation to CCC and SCDC working together; for example to jointly declare the number of houses they will be building.  This would potentially mean that there would be less pressure to build on Cambridge Green Belt land as SCDC may release more land for building.  This issue is new on the agenda and the full
impact has still to be addressed.   CCC advised they would be publishing the MOU on their website.

Update on Local Plan Inspection Process


Buxhall Farm
Cambridgeshire County Council are owners of the land at Buxhall Farm and want to build on it. When the District Council issued a ‘call for sites’ a few years ago, the County Council put forward Buxhall Farm as a suitable site. The District Council when preparing their new Local Plan that sets out the housing development needed in the County, considered all the sites offered and rejected Buxhall Farm. The site did not go in the draft Local Plan.

When the District Council issued it’s second round of consultations giving people the opportunity to comment on the draft Local Plan, the County Council objected strongly to Buxhall being left out of the Local Plan. A planning inspector has now been appointed (Laura Graham) and she will be looking at what the District Council is proposing. A few weeks ago, the County Council announced that it would be withdrawing it’s objection and did not want Buxhall Farm to currently be considered for development. However, the planning inspector recently announced that the District Council has not proposed a full 5 year supply of land, something that they are required to do. The County Council has now decided to re-instate their objection and want the planning inspector to look at their proposals for Buxhall. This is concerning because if there is an under-supply of land, the District Council will need to re-look at sites that were previously rejected - and Buxhall Farm is one of these. The County Council want to build up to 400 homes on the land.

Impington Lane

Impington Lane is included in the draft Local Plan. The District Council has allocated 25 dwellings to be built. However, the landowners, Unwins, via their agent, Bidwells, have suggested that 74 dwellings is more viable. They suggest a much larger area for development, including building on the flood zone behind Merrington Place.

Both areas, Buxhall and Impington Lane, are in the Green Belt. If the Planning Inspector decides that it is justified to build on the Green Belt, Histon and Impington could have up to 474 additional dwellings. Many people feel that this is far too many given that services are are already stretched.

So what are we doing?
Histon and Impington Village Action Group has already made significant representations during the Local Plan consultations, based on the community's responses to our survey, the public meeting and events held this year (see below). Many thanks to all those who got involved and gave their support.

Currently we are gathering further evidence to strengthen the arguments presented during the consultation stages. There is a standard process to be followed. 

There will be a pre-hearing meeting on 11th September 2014, 2pm at the Guildhall in Cambridge. The programme of hearings will be announced at this meeting (or just before). We will not have the opportunity to discuss the issues at this meeting as it provides an opportunity to discuss process and administrative issues prior to the hearings. It is likely that the hearings will be held in October.

Please get in touch if you want to be involved in any way: 

June 2014

Local Plan Inspection Process 

We now have more information on the inspection process for the Local Plan. 

The inspector is Laura Graham and there will be hearings for joint issues with the City Council/South Cambs and some hearings for specific issues.

HAIVAG indicated in their representation during the 
consultation last summer that we want to be invited to hearings where the issues we've highlighted will be addressed, for example, building on the Green Belt.

The inspector will be looking at whether the plan is 'sound' and legally compliant with current legislation. More information can be found here.

The inspector will issue details of meetings and topics for 

At the hearings:

  • The inspector will outline the issues
  • The Local Planning Authority responds first
  • Each participant will be asked for their views
  • The LPA will be asked to give their response
  • There is no entitlement to ask questions of another party present at the hearing
  • Only one person from each residents' group can be 
  • seated at the table but can swap with another group member if beneficial to the discussion.
We do not as yet know the dates of the hearings but it is 

likely that they will be held in July 2014.

It is likely that the respective landowners for Impington Lane 

and Buxhall Farm will be present to put their case.

March 2014

Community workshop A14 improvements

A14 Local Community Groups Workshop
1 - 3pm Saturday 29
th March 2014
Huntingdon Town Hall, Market Hill, Huntingdon, PE29 3PJ

The Highways Agency is proposing a £1.5bn scheme to improve the A14 between Cambridge to Huntingdon, over a distance of approximately 25 miles. We are running a series of workshops with community groups to capture their views on the scheme and help shape our thinking on the design going forward.
At the workshop, we will provide an update on the scheme and the process we will be following as we move towards our Development Consent Order (DCO) application later in the year.
We hope you will take the opportunity to discuss with us your views of the A14 improvement scheme.
Please RSVP to or call Olivia Fava-Verde on 0113 200 2853 or David Plummer on 0113 389 1743.
If you would like further details about the scheme please visit our website,

October 2014

This is an update on the potential housing development in Histon and Impington.

Last autumn we were busy collecting signatures for the Save the Cambridge Green Belt campaign. We handed in over 2,500 signatures to South Cambs District Council along with a larger folder of documents that formed our representations from the Histon and Impington Village Action Group during the Issues and Options 2 consultation. A huge thank you to everyone who got involved.
Sue handing over petition to David Roberts from SCDC

If the Portfolio Holder (Councillor Phillipa Corney) considers that the Local Plan is ready to submit for examination, she will recommend to a special meeting of full Council on 13 March 2014 that it agrees to the submission of the Local Plan for independent examination. If the Council agrees in March 2014 to submit the Local Plan, it is anticipated that the examination hearings will be held in Summer/Autumn 2014. HAIVAG has requested to appear before the planning inspector.

You will recall that Buxhall Farm was rejected by the District Council and has  not been included in the Local Plan. The land is owned by Cambridgeshire County Council and they are not happy that their plans to build 400 houses on the land has not been accepted by the District Council. They commissioned Carter Jonas to write a report that outlines their objections to the decision not to include the site. It is stated in the report (page 7) that the ‘County Council is willing to consider a lower level of development than that originally proposed’. The proposal is now to build 250 dwellings. They object to the land being retained in Green Belt. Undoubtedly they will not relinquish their proposals for this land and will be trying hard to persuade the planning inspector that the land should be developed. Our fight to protect this land is not over yet.

The land North of Impington Lane has been included in the Local Plan and currently 30 houses are proposed. There are many concerns over this land being built on including access, it’s location in the flood zone and it’s position as a ‘gateway’ to further Green Belt land going North. As anticipated, Unwins as the owner of the biggest piece of the land, does not accept the District Council’s limitation of 30 dwellings.  Unwins has commissioned Bidwells to write a report outlining their objections. In that report it is stated that the building of 30 dwellings is not viable and that 70 dwellings is far more realistic, including building on a designated flood zone. The main issue for the village is that 70 dwellings will result in a huge pressure on our already stretched primary schools. The proposal to build on a flood zone is one that defies belief given recent events.

HAIVAG will continue to oppose building in the Green Belt. Our representations, as well as those of our Parish Council, are clear that there are no exceptional circumstances to justify concreting over our Green Belt. We will be working on our evidence to present to the planning inspector.

Save The Cambridge Green Belt campaign will hand in petition at the Guildhall Cambridge on Monday 30th October at 12.30pm. Nearly 1700 people have signed asking Cambridge City Council and SCDC to remove Green Belt land from Local Plan. All welcome.

The South Cambs District Council consultation ends on 14th October. Just 3 weeks away. If you have views on whether or not Green Belt should be built on in Impington, don't delay! Go to SCDC website and have your say. If you object and want some help with points to make for maxiumum impact see HAIVAG guidance here

Cake Carve Up is a big success!
A big thank you to all of those who turned up to support the Green Belt Cake Carve Up. Hope you enjoyed your cake!

The event attracted media interest in the campaign. Radio Cambridgeshire interviewed HAIVAG and local residents. To listen to the interviews go here It's about 46 minutes in. Available until approx 10th September.

Heart Radio plugged the event and put some information on their website 

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition yesterday. If you haven't done so already and would like to, the petition is here via the Save The Green Belt website.

Cambridge News article here.

Please display your Save The Green Belt posters in your windows and if you need more, please get in touch.

The Great Green Belt Cake Carve Up!
On Wednesday 4th September at 3.30pm on The Green in Histon. Come along and find out about the work of the Action Group and get your free cake!

South Cambs District Council Exhibition
Don't forget to go to the exhibition of building plans for the village and other areas. Thursday 5th September, 2.30 - 7.30 pm Histon and Impington recreation Ground.

The Local Plan consultation runs until 14th October 2013. To have your say go here  We will be writing guidance on suggested wording very soon. The bits of the consultation that apply to Histon & Impington are: 
Policy S/4        2.32 Cambridge Green Belt
Policy H/1       Allocations for Residential Development at Villages 

Save the Cambridge Green Belt Campaign launched
The Cambridge Green Belt Coalition has launched a new website and a petition. It only takes a few minutes to sign the on-line petition so please do so today!! Go to the website here

HAIVAG to join Green Belt coalition
A number of groups in the Cambridgeshire area are coming together to form a coalition to challenge the Council's plans to include large areas of Green Belt in the new Local Plan.

We will bring you more news about this shortly.

If you would like to get involved, please contact us.

New Campaign from Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)
CPRE recently launched a new campaign and released this statement: 

Our campaign is a wake-up call for the Government. We are saying loud and clear that whatever their original intentions, the reformed planning system is not working.  Local people are being disregarded, open countryside is being developed while suitable brownfield land is left unused, and still too few homes are being built. We have evidence from across England that the effects of current policies on the countryside are devastating, with the Green Belt, protected areas and, above all, our 'ordinary' but hugely valued countryside, destroyed or threatened with destruction.’

Click here to find out more and sign the online charter.

Cambridge Past Present and Future has written an excellent letter to South Cambs District Council about the proposal to build in the Green Belt in Impington and other locations around Cambridge. It can be viewed here

Former Bishop's Site
Mitre Development Property Ltd has submitted a planning application for the former Bishop's site. If you would like to view this and comment it can be viewed here
The Parish Council has announced a public meeting to be held on Tuesday 2nd July, 7.30pm onwards , H&I Rec community room to view the plans and will be on hand to offer advice re the planning process.

Local residents in the Bishop's area have produced information about the proposals for the Bishop's site that can be viewed here

Good News!
We bring you news about the building proposals for Histon and Impington.

·         South Cambridgeshire District Council has not included Buxhall Farm in the new Local Plan so that means the land will not have houses built on it.  Good News!!

·         20 dwellings have been allocated to the former Bishop’s site.

·         The not so good news for those people opposed to any building in the Green Belt is that Impington Lane is included in the new Local Plan and the proposal is for 10 houses to be built 2016-2017 and 15 houses 2017-2018.

There will be a public consultation on the draft Local Plan from 19th July to 30th September 2013 and an exhibition at Histon and Impington Recreation Ground on Thursday 5th September.

Many, thanks to everyone who has got involved with the Campaign. If you want to add your support to the many people who are against building on Green belt on the land North of Impington Lane, get in touch.

Buxhall Farm bio-diversity

In the next few months there’ll be a decision on whether or not to build 470 homes on our village’s green belt. The Histon and Impington Village Action Group agree passionately with national planning policy that states that ‘green belt should only be used in exceptional circumstances’. Building on green belt, or ‘cutting new turf’ is cheaper for house builders than revitalising or getting change of use from Brownfield sites. Terms like empty, ‘it’s just scrub land’ and ‘non-productive’ are frequently used to devalue our surrounding countryside.

Someone who knows more than most about the richness of bio-diversity in our green belt is local amateur naturalist Dr Finn Holding. For the last four years Finn has been monitoring the wildlife on Buxhall Farm, one of the threatened green belt sites. Wildlife friendly farming methods such as wide field borders and plenty of hedgerow mean that that it’s fantastic for birds and other animals. It provides habitat for stoat, roe deer and hare. Birds recorded include barn, tawny and little owls, green woodpeckers, sparrowhawk, merlin and red kite. Red list birds, (meaning those most threatened) include corn bunting, grey partridge, linnet, skylark, yellowhammer and yellow wagtail. For a detailed list please see here

Planning Policy and Localism Meeting
A few HAIVAG members attended this meeting at South Cambs District Council HQ. Planning officers and the Planning Policy and Localism Portfoilio Holder, Cllr Pippa Corney, presented draft sections of the new Local Plan. Some councillors attended and presented questions to the planners about various aspects of the draft document.

There will be a significant meeting at Cambourne on Tuesday 11th June @ 10.00 am when the planners will be discussing 'How many homes and where should they go?' Members of the public can attend and can submit a question to the planning team which needs to be submitted 7 days before the meeting. PUT THE DATE IN YOUR DIARY AND COME ALONG!

David Jenkins, Lib Dem County Councillor puts questions about Buxhall Farm to Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr M McGuire
To see full response click here
Note that the Councillor's response says that '..the Council has already indicated to the Doctors that a new surgery site could be provided at Buxhall Farm should they wish to relocate."

Is that where we would like our surgery to be?

Councillor Nick Clarke, Leader of the Council, recently said in his blog that: 
‘development proposed for ‘villages that don’t want it and with infrastructure not built to support it is not welcome’. He continues: ‘people live in villages because they are villages not sprawling conurbations.’ 
He was speaking about Fulbourn. HAIVAG wrote to him to say that his points are just as relevant to Histon and Impington.

Representation from HAIVAG to South Cambs District Council here

HAIVAG Feb newsletter here

Sat Feb 16th - Article in Cambridge News ' Green Belt must not be sacrificed'  says that Cambridge Past, Present and Future and the county branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England have joined forces to oppose plans for more than 1,000 homes on the edge of the city arguing that green belt land should only be released in "very special circumstances".

HAIVAG Over 50 people came to the meeting at the Recreation Ground.  A big thank you to all of you who came.  There was lively debate and  offers of help. We will be busy collating all the comments/suggestions from the evening and making sure that peoples' views are presented to those making the decisions and others who have influence.

Article about the meeting is in Cambridge News. See here

Campaign to Protect  Rural England has developed a sample email/letter people can send off to Eric Pickles  calling for Ministers to live up to their commitment, in the 2010 Coalition Agreement, to protect the Green Belt. You just put in your details and the template is then available.  You can adapt it if you want to add Histon and Impington and then just press the send button. It's really easy and takes just 3 minutes!  Find the template here

Buxhall Farm

Buxhall Farm
The County Council own the land at Buxhall Farm. A recent article in the Cambridge News said that ‘Rather than selling its land to a builder, the council wants to build houses and commercial premises itself to scoop the maximum profits.’ Cllr Clarke said “We believe we can develop some of this land and use some of the profits to help fund our budget”. The article also said ‘Sites around Cambridge will be prioritised with a pilot project planned in Histon.’

Histon and Impington Village Action Group was formed by a group of residents who are concerned about the development proposals for the villages.

We are a non-political group whose major concern is the well-being of the whole community.

The group aims to encourage any future development to be in-keeping with the local area and to campaign for the appropriate infrastructure to be provided to support any growth in population. We share a vision for a community which evolves in a way that does not impact on the quality of life of the people who live here.

What we aim to do:
  • Provide a forum to enable people to exchange news, views and information
  • Provide up to date information for our supporters
  • Influence decision makers in the planning process
  • Ensure residents views are heard by decision makers

Go to our Development Proposals page to see what land in Histon and Impington the District Council has identified as suitable for the potential building of new homes.